It seems as if the mid-winter slumber of the Buffalo Sabres is going to last a bit longer than expected this year. The team, after opening 2-0, has lost seven of its last eight games and have, at times, looked like an AHL team going against an NHL club.
It’s clearly not the way management, players, and fans saw the 2013 lockout-shortened season playing out at the start. With nearly a quarter of the season already gone, Buffalo has found themselves in a major bind that it can’t seem to break out of. Only one line has been able to consistently produce for the team, but that is not going to win a team many games. Unless, of course, Thomas Vanek has games like he did against Philadelphia and Boston.
When the team is losing like this, see last January, absolutely no one becomes untouchable when it comes to trying to figure out just what needs to be done to the team. However, just what moves would be logical for this organization.
Do they give up on trying their little tweaks to become a cup contender, blow up the roster, and start a full rebuild? Or, do they make a major splash by trading a couple top prospects and some other assets to bring in a superstar player that can help this team get over the hump?
Judging from past experiences and trends, the best bet would be that neither of the two options happen. The team seems too scared to make drastic changes which could explain why Lindy Ruff has been allowed to survive multiple major losing streaks year in, year out with no repercussions.
The Sabres clearly have issues that need to be addressed.
Tyler Ennis looks to have regressed from last season in his play, Marcus Foligno has struggled, Drew Stafford couldn’t hit an empty net with a beach ball from inside the goal crease, and rookie Mikhail Grigorenko just doesn’t seem to be getting as many chances to succeed as most had hoped he’d get. It’s becoming a major cause for concern among this team. However, it isn’t necessarily the biggest issue on this squad.
No, the biggest issue, as far as the players go, on the defensive side of things. Aside from Christian Ehrhoff, Buffalo has been one of, if not, the worst defensive units in the NHL through the first 10 games. They have allowed the most goals against in the NHL, which falls as much on the defense giving up so many quality opportunities as it does the goaltending. Tyler Myers has been a train wreck so far this season, and Jordan Leopold has been a close second for worst defenseman on the team.
They team is going nowhere fast. It seems like the players just aren’t that motivated which signifies, to me, that Ruff has lost the locker room. But, as we all know, it’s apparent that Ruff “ain’t going nowhere”. It begs the question, just what does this team have to do now to get something out of a team that is clearly not playing up to its potential.
Quite frankly, other than a coaching change, I really don’t have an answer to that. I’ve given up on the add new players to the mix and see what happens notion that I’ve had for years. It’s at the point now that bringing in a new philosophy by ways of a new head man.
Like noted before, however, that just isn’t likely. It made me pose the question on the Queen City Sports facebook page just what the fans feel needs to be done, roster wise, to try and turn things around. Some of the responses are below.
One move? One move won’t do much… unless you can count the move as buying Lindy a whip so he can wake up Myers, Leopold, Stafford, Gerbe, Hecht, Ennis, Miller, and Ehrhoff and turn them into the players that they can be. Vanek’s back is hurting. Option 2, test technology, and clone 4 lines of Thomas Vaneks.
A 1st, 2nd, and Leopold to Anaheim for Perry. You would have him to help trying to run at the playoffs and get the rights now to work at a long term deal before he hits UFA market just like they did with Ehrhoff.
Package Ennis, Stafford, Leopold/Sekera and a draft pick to try acquiring Ryan Getzlaf from Anaheim.
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